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2009 Census Rehearsal

To make sure the 2011 Census on 27 March 2011 ran smoothly, we carried out a trial, a dress rehearsal if you like, to test our systems and processes.

The Census collects information every 10 years about the characteristics of people and households in the country.  It is used by central and local government, health authorities and many other organisations to plan and provide services for everyone.

The rehearsal took place on Sunday 11 October 2009 in two areas of Northern Ireland –Derriaghy and Moy & Benburb, and included some 5,000 households. Benburb, Derriaghy and Moy were chosen as rehearsal areas because together they highlighted how well Census processes and systems worked in both urban and rural areas. Moy residents tested arrangements for recent migrants in particular. Responses from Derriaghy tested our processes in relation to newly built houses.

If you lived in one of these areas, we would like to thank you for taking part. Although the rehearsal was voluntary, we relied on the public’s co-operation to make it a success. Your participation in the rehearsal meant we were able to test our processes to ensure that the 2011 Census worked well.

Online responses

For the first time, you were able to complete your Census questionnaire online, and the rehearsal tested this facility. In 2011 you had the option of completing and returning a paper questionnaire, or submitting your questionnaire online.

Census Rehearsal Timeline

Month Activity
  • Posting of pre-delivery card - 21 September 2009
  • Start of questionnaire delivery - 28 September 2009
  • October
  • 2009 Census Rehearsal Day - 11 October 2009
  • Census questionnaires return deadline - 21 October 2009
  • Start of field follow-up - 21 October 2009
  • November
  • End of census collection period - 20 November 2009